Nov. 19, 2010

By Jim Faasen
Special to

A much anticipated third meeting and rubber match between University Athletic Association rivals Washington University and New York University didn't quite equal the pre-game hype.

Host Washington (35-3) made the match a non-issue fairly early, taking commanding leads in the first two games en route to the 25-16, 25-16, 25-10 win over New York University (38-6) at Friday's NCAA Division III volleyball national quarterfinals.

"I thought our serving game was absolutely outstanding," Bears coach Rich Luenemann said. "We forced a lot of balls to their left side. We, of course, defended very well and transitioned after that."

The Bears used a 13-5 run to turn a tight 12-11 game into an easy win.

During a five-point run, Lauren Budde recorded three kills and Tessa Blood added one.

The second game saw a 15-13 Bears' lead blow open as Blood and Budde combined on a block and added two kills to help Washington University cruise.

Budde ended the match with a kill that brought the partisan crowd to its feet in a thunderous roar. Marilee Fisher had an assists on the final play.

The Bears left set three in little doubt as they built leads of 15-5, 18-6 and 20-7 and cruised from there.

"I was surprised," said Budde of the outcome. "We definitely brought a lot of fire and I think that fire we had tonight is enough to kind of knock any team down."

Budde led Washington with 14 kills while Meghan Byrne added 10. Fisher's 33 assists also paced the Bears (35-3).

The win sets up Saturday's NCAA Division III national semifinals as Juniata (34-5) and Calvin (30-4) will begin at 3:30 p.m. and Emory (35-4) and Washington University are set to begin at 6 p.m.